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Front Line, The

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Front Line, The

Published 1965

How to be an effective supermarket checker.

Run time 14:56
Producer Niles (Fred) Communications Centers, Inc.
Sponsor Reader's Digest, in cooperation with Supermarket Institute
Audio/Visual Sd, C


How to be an effective supermarket checker.
Stock shots:
Excellent stock shots of consumer products; Special K, Diet Rite Cola; Hormel Chili; Campbell's soups; Dole pineapple;
stop motion animation of food products; trading stamps;
lots of closeups of cash registers; collecting money;
many women with filled shopping carts charge the checkout counters; CU woman's mouth crying help;
how to pack a grocery sack; silhouettes of women's heads with colored backgrounds;
exploitation of workers; women; sexism [references to grown women as girls etc.]
Voiceover: "Some people call this a war. War or not, one thing is for sure, a daily battle is being waged in supermarkets all over this country, a battle for the customer's dollar."



Reviewer: LBFC - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 28, 2012
Subject: How Do I receive the Legal Rights to this?
I want to use this in a documentary how do I get the rights?
Reviewer: Dodsworth the Cat - - November 8, 2010
Subject: Music
The music in this film is courtesy of the Capitol Hi-Q Library. The opening is a Phil Green composition named 'PE-283 Bright Beautiful.' Lots of music by Bill Loose and John Seely here, such as 'TC-437 Shopping Day' at 9:34. 'PE-289 Whistling Boy' by Green, Thorne and Love is at 11:03, and 'TC-436 Shining Day' at 11:39. But the best-known piece of music is the Donna Reed theme 'TC-430A Happy Day' at 6:22.
Reviewer: Unidyne - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 18, 2008
Subject: For anyone who ever had to use an NCR
Yep, I'm old enough to have worked on an NCR register! lord, does this take me back. BTW: This film was edited on the Archive and set to a techno soundtrack. Do a search or "Mickey Mouse With a Gun"
Reviewer: GE_Pretzel - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 1, 2006
Subject: Grocery store sales in the pre-UPC era
If you've ever wanted to get a glimpse of how grocery store checkers performed their duties prior to the advent of barcode technology, this film produced by Reader's Digest will certainly be of interest. After an introductory segment that emphasizes the rivalry that exists between grocery stores and the importance of providing quality service, viewers are introduced to fledgling checker Ms. Jones, a young lady who seems quite eager to succeed but doesn't have a particularly easy time managing the many obstacles that arrive at her counter. Fortunately for her, a trio of veteran checkers are on hand to help demonstrate to the jovial new recruit how to deal with various difficulties. It's quite interesting to see how the film depicts the stature of the job, and there are plenty of humourous moments that will hold your attention. The absence of plastic bags is also quite noticeable.
Reviewer: musicom - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 27, 2006
Subject: Excellent Historical Supermarket Footage
Show just what my local A&P looked like back in 1974 before the remodel and the fire....

Those Big 'ol NCRs and I never knew that chart on them was to figure 'fractional' items....

But aside from everything else.... the BEST PART IS THE VERY LAST SCENE!!!! How many of you noticed after all the 'instruction' throughout the film on how to acheive your goal as best 'grocery checker' of the year, how to bag properly, etc. In the end, the 'checker' gives the change to the customer, smiles, then has a brain fart, fools with the cash draw (probably slips a penny down her bra), the customer has long gone, but then she notices she forgot to give the receipt to the last customer....oh well.. she tears it off the register and just sends the slip of crap on its way off camera on the conveyor belt. NOW WHAT IS THAT CUSTOMER GONNA DO WHEN SHE WANTS TO RETURN THAT CANNED PINEAPPLE THAT COST 39 cents!
Reviewer: Marysz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 12, 2006
Subject: Keeping the Line Moving
Three middle-aged "girls" who were International Checkers of the Year in the early sixties demonstrate how to check out groceries. Being a cashier in the days before barcode scanning looks, by today's standards, excruciatingly tedious. The three champion checkers, one of whom has an amazing bouffant hair-do, were clearly intelligent women overqualified for their menial jobs. And, as the film's male voiceover reminds us, they had to do it with a smile.

Since this film was made by Reader's Digest, the magazine is prominently featured on merchandise racks beside each cashier. It was in the Digest's best interests to have friendly, competent cashiers alongside their magazine. Could it be Reader's Digest who sponsored the International Checker of the Year competitions to choose the yearly Checkout Queens? Prosaic as this film is, it dignifies ordinary labor in a way we don't see very much of today. And what ever happened to trading stamps?
Reviewer: EB442 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 27, 2005
Subject: This is wonderful
What a great film. Entertaining for its humor, nostalgia, and big hair. Also great shots of 60s grocery stores. The color-changing backgrounds work well, too.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 22, 2003
Subject: Ka-CHING!
The ever stressful job of a grocery checker (read cashier) is profiled here, and all I can say is thank god for technology (and extra help) as the checker job of 1965 looks 10 x more difficult then it is today. Before we are introduced to the checkers though, we see an incredible view of grocery merchandising circa 1965, there are like 5 shelves of products, just jammed to the rafters. Really scary. I guess groceries nowadays are bigger? I'm not sure. After that, we are introduced to the checker and her amazing little mat that moves the food closer to the checker to be rung through. Now, before we go any further, HOW THE MAT MOVED IS NOT EXPLAINED. I'm heartbroken. Anyways, continuing on, the narrator explains that the checker has a lot going on, checking prices (no scanners here!) entering the prices into the cash register (ow, the finger punching must hurt after a while), adding, bagging AND being nice to the customer! How is all this to be done? We meet 3 expert checkers ("Queens of Checking contests"), The first one, I swear, was introduced as Ruth Buzzi. Was she the Checking champion of 1964? The 2nd one has WAY too big hair. The 3rd one, ugh, let's not start. Anyways, they go into the right way of doing these chores. One of the most-least-looking-forward-to-doingthey say, the checker has to do is bagging. Ahhh, so that's how the bag boy was created, Cashier intolerance! This is a wildly intersting historical artifact, and comes reccomended!
Reviewer: Mr. Manager - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 18, 2003
Subject: " Off To The Market."
What a great movie. This was going to the store. With mom. Whem I was a kid. The way I remember it. Checkers today don't say thank you. Most of them are sometimes quite nasty. Well anyway great background music, Using the Donna Reed show theme, Felt like Donna was in the store. Had a lot of trouble with the audio. Probably due to high traffic. Great shots of old items. No longer on the market. Like heinz spaghetti. Loved the prices. Also the woman who hands the trainee cash went on to become a pretty big tv actress. I believe her name is Fran something. Great character actress. She was also in a 1977 hungry Jack biscuit commercial
Reviewer: RedAliCat - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 16, 2003
Subject: So this is war?
War in the supermarket! Obviously a training video, so I'm not sure why Reader's Digest produced it. Great shots of products we still use today. And get a load of the Stepford Wives as they shop--who shops in heels nowadays? Of course, here it's all women customers. Checkers and customers are always referred to as "her" or "she," and winners of Checker of the Year are "Queens." Pat Hilton's hair is great! I've never seen a checker that was dressed as a Denny's waitress, nor have I seen a checker have you pay, then enter the coupons and return cash to you (guess it shows how young I am).
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